LEAD: Abraham Karpas, a professor of virology at Cambridge University, has patented a still-experimental method that he says delays the onset of AIDS symptoms in people infected with the HIV virus.
Abraham Karpas, a professor of virology at Cambridge University, has patented a still-experimental method that he says delays the onset of AIDS symptoms in people infected with the HIV virus.
Known as Passive Hyperimmune Therapy, the method uses blood from people who have tested positive for the virus but have not developed symptoms. The plasma of such patients often includes high concentrations of antibodies that fight the virus. The plasma is then injected into patients who have already become sick, in an effort to build up their immune system.
"Early on in the disease course, people produce neutralizing antibodies that later on, they do not," said Elliott Block, president of Medicorp Inc. of Montreal, which licensed the patent. Mr. Block said the antibodies will not cure AIDS, but can inhibit the virus's ability to enter immune cells, where they can multiply and go out of control. As such, he said, the method may prove useful in conjunction with drugs like AZT.
According to a study by Dr. Karpas published last December in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the treatment appeared to enhance immune levels and the health of about 10 patents who either had AIDS or AIDS-related complex. A study of 50 patients is now under way at the Bronx Veterans Administration Center.
Dr. Karpas received patent 4,863,730.